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CENTRAL LONDON FROM HEATHROW
Customs was surprisingly quick at Heathrow, but baggage claim wasnít. To travel between Heathrow airport and central London, I took the Heathrow Express
train. It departs every 15 minutes, and takes only 15 minutes to reach Paddington Station. This is definitely the easiest and quickest way, but itís not the cheapest. It costs £15 ($30) for coach passengers, £24 ($48) for first class. First class is a waste, unless your company is footing the bill or you want a car all to yourself. If you want to take your time and save money, the tube (subway) departs every few minutes for £4.30 ($8.50). It takes almost an hour. LONDON CABBIES: I have never (and probably never will) take one of Londonís comfortable taxis between the airport and central. Theyíre not only a rip (the cost is about $100); they also take close to an hour.
From Paddington Station I transferred to the tube. It has a stop in the building, and is very easy to figure out (the English are quite friendly if you have trouble). If you are staying in the touristy areas and plan on taking the tube more than once a day, purchase a Travelcard for however many days you will be there. You most likely wonít leave Zone 1 (hereís a pdf file of the tube map ). A single ride on the tube costs
£4 ($8), but a Day Travelcard (good until 4:30 a.m.) costs only £5 ($10). I needed to get to the Knightsbridge Station. Itís right next to the world famous Harrods, which I love even though itís so damn expensive and crowded. I took the Circle Line to Earlís Court, switched to the Picadilly Line and went three stops to Knightsbridge. Total time was about 15 minutes, and it was easy -- but it was PACKED! Iím talking so crowded that I couldnít even move. I was glad I did not have a lot of luggage, and that Iím not claustrophobic. The following day I had to get back to Paddington Station. I was running late, so I took a taxi. That 10-minute ride cost me £11 ($22). What a rip.
EGERTON HOUSE HOTEL
Charming, thoughtful, intimate, relaxing, friendly, welcoming, and very English are the words I think of after spending the night at the Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge. What a hidden gem this 29-room hotel is. Itís just four blocks from Harrods and the tube. This boutique hotel is down a lovely, quiet side street. It feels as if you are entering a friendís home. The staff
is cheerful and eager to please. My room
was on the top floor of the five-story brick town house that used to be a hostel. Those days are long gone. My room
-- 31 -- was absolutely brilliant! It had a king-size bed, a monster-size plasma TV, a desk
with free internet, a drawer full of office supplies, an iPod Nano fully loaded, a variety of electric outlets so I didnít need an adapter, and complimentary bottles of spring water
bedside. Inside the marble bathroom
was another flat screen waterproof telly (as the bellman pronounced it). The shower had full-throttle water pressure; there were also designer toiletries, heated towel racks, a cool night light and fluffy robes. The night
maid -- a woman from Lithuania -- was very nice and thorough, as she cleaned my room without disturbing me.
She made it into a love palace, turning the bed down and lighting a candle
in the tub. The only problem was, I was all by myself Ė what a bummer.
Breakfast can be enjoyed in the dining room or the comfort of your room. I needed to be up early to catch a flight to ??? (Iíll tell you next week), so I had it delivered to my room. Ordering room service is a good backup wake-up call in case the alarm doesnít go off. I had a great Belgian waffle
brought promptly at 6:30 a.m. It was 30 minutes before the kitchen officially opened, but the hotel tries to accommodate early departing guests as best they can. I was only in for a night so I did not get to enjoy my complimentary welcome drink, or witness the bartender make one of the best martinis in town. Rack rates begin at £235 ($470), but you can find cheaper prices online. Egerton House Hotel, Egerton Terrace, Knightsbridge, London; tel.:44 (0) 20-7589-2412.
Before I left the States I ordered two tickets online to the play "Wicked" through
KeithProwse.com. These guys have sold tickets to the theatre, sports events, concerts and special events for more than 200 years. They started in London, but now have 36 offices in more than 20 countries. Besides selling tickets to attractions in each location, they package tickets with hotels and restaurants. Mine were not cheap, but when you want to see a certain performance front and center, theyíre the ones to go to. Going to the theatre is my favorite activity in London. Itís the best place in the world to see plays and musicals; the theatres are all historic. If I had not had my heart set on getting good seats for "Wicked," I would have gone down to Leicester Square and rolled the dice to find a discounted play. Thatís where theatregoers can find inexpensive tickets, though not every show is available and the seats might not be great. Many shops sell tickets, though none is more popular than TKTS (the same company as in Times Square).
Thanks to KeithProwse I had the best seats in London's Apollo Victoria Theatre. It was my first time seeing "Wicked," a very entertaining musical thatís fun for the whole family. Based on Gregory Maguire's best-selling novel, itís filled with wizardry and witchcraft. "Wicked" tells the story of an incredible friendship between two girls: the beautiful, blonde and popular Glinda, and the misunderstood green girl Elphaba, whose destiny is to become the Wicked Witch of the West. Click these links to read about the show and the cast.
NEXT WEEK Next week we travel to Europeís southernmost country. Hereís a hint: Iíll be 100 miles west of the Syrian coast.
*If you heard about us somewhere else or have the link to the story please email Johnny Jet media and let us know where!
SOME OF LAST WEEK'S READER AIR-eMAIL
Once again I have to say it - you've got some life kid. Why no pictures of the Brazilian girl? Perhaps because she meant something special to you. I believe in soul mates and I also believe we do not always end up with them but rather with who we need. She had your Mom's maiden name huh? Now that is something to think about. Hmm. AnywayÖ.. God bless your Dad - most folks would not want to have a picture of them all hooked up in a bed wearing a hospital gown posted on an internet site and blog. He is right in there though - doing it for the team. He seems like a riot to hang out with. Vincent D Ė New York, NY
That was a wonderful story of your flight. So romantic and unusual. Perhaps once in a lifetime - or a past lifetime. Naoma F - Phoenix, Arizona
We wish your Dad a very speedy recovery. Have been following all of your trips and especially enjoy the ones with your Father. What was your Mothers maiden name? My grandparents were also from Denmark, they were Madsen and Eriksen. Am sure you will hear from Giselle again when her baby is born. LaVerne S. - Wickliffe, OH
Great newsletter and best wishes for your father. I hope it is a speedy recovery for him. Uh, dude. I think you were sitting next to Gisele Bundchen. Brazilian? Check. Pregnant? Check. Gorgeous? Check. But, you'll have to go through Tom Brady first. And he has a fairly decent offensive line. Take it easy and keep up the great work! Always love reading your newsletter. -Michael M. -- Seattle
Are you sure the "hot" Brazilian woman on the plane wasn't Gisele Bundchen? Edna B -
Glad to hear your dad's doing well . . . and man, you had my mind a flutter with talk of Gisele! I have a lady friend in Sao Paulo --- Brasilian women are amazing, aren't they!? Anyhow, thanks for the travelogue, I always enjoy reading them. Stephen D- Toledo, Oh
You were actually an inspiration to me!! I love to travel- anywhere and everywhere...I love the research,
love the adventure, I even weirdly love when things go wrong and I have to regroup and be out of my element and think on my feet.
ĖSarah Kozer (SarahKozer.com)
I was saddened to read of your dadís surgery, but if it keeps him alive for many more years, itís definitely worth it. Our prayers are for his speedy recovery! Please tell him you adopted ďcousinĒ sends his regards. I enjoyed the story of Gisele on the trip back from Brasil. Isnít it amazing how much we have in common with people weíve never met but somehow seem to know? I hope you keep in touch with her. Perhaps your kindness to her meant the world. G.O. - San Francisco
The May 2 newsletter was great. Hope your father is doing well Johnny. I think you have one of the best jobs in the world. Terry M Ė San Diego, CA
Are you telling me it wasn't this
Justin S Ė New York
It was disheartening to hear of your dad's serious health issue. What a great son he has--right away to leave everything. Your are a special guy. Our prayers and thoughts are with him, Nancy and the rest of the family as he successfully recups. Take good care of him. Sailinsal -- a reader for many years!
I heard an interview you gave on the radio today. I travel a lot so I checked out your site and itís really nice. I will add it to my travel planning resources. FYI, I am currently in Montreal staying at the Sheraton hotel. I booked on Priceline (PL) for $72 a night. The best rate on their main internet site was $209. I booked a second room for my customer exact same dates at $69. I used biddingfortravel.com to do my research. I have been using this site as well as betterbidding.com for 3 years and I have literally saved $10 -15, 0000. P.S. I also book my full size rental car on Priceline for $17/day---saved over $250. Sam A - Auburn, WA
FEEDBACK FOR FRANKIE D
You didn't come to Pensacola. Number 3 Fish Market in the USA, Joe
Patti's. Super museum- National Museum of Naval Aviation, situated in the
home of naval aviation, Naval Air Station Pensacola, a historical site in
its own right. National Seashores and Forests. White sands but more to
see, theatres, museums, etc, not just some trailer camp. I am disappointed in you fellows. Walt Gordon - Gulf Breeze, FL
REPLY FROM FRANKIE D: Walt, Next time I will be sure to get there. Maybe you can show me around?
REPLY 2 FROM WALT: Thanks, you guys do a great job. I read every issue and pass it to friends and relatives. You have such pertinent articles about travel tips
and things folks should know. I read them and save them. Your travel
articles allow me to go to places in your verse. Don't know if we are the right people to show folks around, but we know people who would. We would love to put your writer on to the people who could give him a memorable trip.
Thanks, Walt Gordon.
Just loved reading Frank's story. Iím so happy he posted this report. Keep Frankie D moving on... Janice R Ė New Hampshire
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